Times Cryptic 28411 – What the pup pays?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time: 16 minutes

Music: Sonny Rollins, Brass Trio

Well, another easy Monday.   Getting the four long ones quickly was really very helpful, but even the interior of the grid was relatively straightforward.   You do have to trust the cryptics, but coming here from Mephisto, I would say that’s not a problem.   It was a bit of a biff-fest, but fortunately when I came to write the blog all the parsings were pretty easy, which is what you would expect.

1 Showing fellow having trouble with parasites — any number eradicated (13)
9 Quiet anger in Devon maybe (5)
10 Aristotle contrived a system of betting! (9)
TOTALISER – Anagram of Aristotle, and a chestnut to boot.
11 Army group is about to take position fighting against enemy? (10)
RESISTANCE – R.E. + IS backwards + STANCE.
12 Excellent silver put around goddess (4)
GAIA – A.1. AG, backwards.
14 No good drinks, just little ones (7)
16 Prison critic? (7)
SLAMMER – Double definition.
17 Girls with deceptive stories to ensnare idiot (7)
19 Briefly wears what is put out in store? (5,2)
TRIES ON – Anagram of IN STORE.
20 Keen to get going without leader (4)
21 Unit of the enemy housed in HQ (10)
24 Heartlessly pan bloomer — alternatively don’t mention it! (2,7)
NO PROBLEM – Anagram of P[a]N BLOOMER.
25 No bad temper when one is dismissed? Good! (5)
26 Guide dog charge demanded by landlord? Could be shocking (6,7)
1 Miss Grant mad about classical language — doesn’t like her pupils doing this? (14)
2 Catches slow folk, heading off (5)
3 Unconventional fellow to perform an act of exorcism? (4,6)
FREE SPIRIT –  Double definition, one jocular.
4 Governors the reverse of tough folk, dismissing knight (7)
SATRAPS – SPARTA[n]S backwards.
5 Criticises an imposition audibly (7)
ATTACKS – Sounds like A TAX, another chestnut.
6 Shallow lake fish goes round (4)
7 Irregular movements many gusts may produce (9)
NYSTAGMUS – Anagram of MANY GUSTS, where the letter placement should be obvious with the checkers in place.   Curiously, a Latinised form of a German word.
8 What could make heartless man agree with partner? Something organised in advance (14)
13 A puppy stars? (5,5)
CANIS MINOR – Cryptic hint, since presumably the smaller dog is a pup.
15 Creature in a bad temper hugged by divine being (9)
18 Varnish — the fellow has two litres in container (7)
19 Carry male in charge, as one venerated? (7)
22 Label on the foreign item in furniture shop? (5)
23 Grim person achieving things, we hear (4)
DOUR – Sounds like DOER, but not in my idiolect.

81 comments on “Times Cryptic 28411 – What the pup pays?”

  1. 6:59, pretty straightforward puzzle. Left NYSTAGMUS until the end, I remembered the word but wanted all the checkers to make sure it wasn’t NUSGATMYS or something

  2. 17:36
    DNK NYSTAGMUS, but as Vinyl said. DNK NOGGINS in that sense. Biffed PREARRANGEMENT, without checking the anagrist. My one problem was CENTIMETRE (LOI), where for some reason I persisted in looking for a unit of time. V, you’ve got a superfluous E in CENTIMETRE.

  3. I solved all but two answers in 16 minutes so should have been on course for a sub-20 which I’m not sure I have ever achieved before, but it was not to be. The missing words at 7dn and 12ac were unknown to me and of course by sod’s law they intersected so I was hampered on both accounts. FWIW this is the first appearance of GAIA, an unlikely looking name, and NYSTAGMUS has appeared only once (2016) so I would count both as obscurities. At least on the longer word’s former outing the setter split the anagram into two, the first of NASTY and the second of SMUG.

    The rest of the puzzle was dead easy.

    1. One man’s obscurity is another etc., but I would have thought that GAIA the Earth-mother was fairly well-known. Certainly in a different class from NYSTAGMUS! Aside from Greek mythology, there’s also the Gaia hypothesis (or theory)

      1. I try not claim obscurity lightly but sometimes get it wrong, however on this occasion I was basing it on the fact that GAIA has apparently never before appeared as an answer in the TfTT era, not even in a Mephisto.

        1. I was a bit surprised that she hasn’t appeared before (it’s also spelled Gaea). I bet some of her offspring have appeared in Mephisto. In any case, I of course apply Keriothe’s Principle: If I know it, it’s not obscure. (See also Astro_Nowt below.)

          1. The hypothesis figured importantly in the 1980s thriller ‘Edge of Darkness’, as noted by gothick.

        2. Well .. half of it appeared in Mephisto 2709 in May this year (31ac). All of it was in Mephisto 2611 (14ac). It is also in Mephisto 2802, though spelt GAEA. Google search finds a few other mentions by bloggers and commenters… Charybdis, for example, is offspring of Gaia and Poseidon. Would not call the dear girl obscure, myself. Certainly not to her face 🙂

          1. Thanks, Jerry. I don’ know why my earlier search didn’t find Mephisto 2611, but I rather take the view that anything that appears in a Mephisto and not in the other types of puzzle over so long a period is an obscurity. I never attempt them anyway so I wouldn’t have seen it, let alone remembered it. I think your puzzle number for the one in May this year is a typo.

  4. Much the same as Jack with 12ac and 7dn beyond my ken. So after 30 mins l quit, even though l had some inkling of the answers.

    FOI 9ac SHIRE – Devonshire Clotted Cream remains unabbreviated.
    WOD 18dn SHELLAC ManU got one yesterday afternoon. Ouch!

    And what of Oliver Postgate’s wondrous ‘Noggin the Nog’? Beats the crap out of ‘Game of Thrones’! Meldrew the Mog

      1. Careful or next we’ll venture into Captain Pugwash and his crew of double entendres.

        1. Once upon a time Kenneth Horne introduced an edition of “Round the Horne” by informing listeners in a serious voice that the directors of the BBC had asked the programme to remove the double meaning from its jokes…..but hadn’t specified which meaning….
          In another part of the forest, Barry Cryer described how a young woman once asked him to provide an example of a double-entendre. “So”, he said, “I gave her one”….

          1. Those were the days! I can’t believe the directors or anyone in authority at the BBC were aware of the double meanings in the Kenneth Horne shows or they’d never have allowed them to be broadcast.

            1. 😀
              And of course there was: “Hello, I’m Julian. This is my friend, Sandy!”

    1. Thoroughly enjoyed an exhibition about Smallfilms at the Beaney Museum in Canterbury a couple of weeks ago – loads of drawings and props from Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss, Captain Pugwash – and best of all – the Clangers!

  5. Today’s cryptic MANIFESTATION
    Was NO PROBLEM, and deserves an ovation
    CANIS MINOR’s a high
    And GAIA maps the sky
    It’s a piece of space instrumentation!

    1. Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
      Onward the sailors cry
      Carry the lad that’s born to be king
      Whilst Gaia maps the Skye


  6. Well, a new p. b. just seemed to appear out of nowhere, as I started off in not much hurry, got 1a and 1d almost immediately and then barely got held up by anything else. GAIA I think I first heard of in Edge of Darkness in the 1980s, and I remember NYSTAGMUS both from its last outing and, in the meantime, having found out that actor Pruitt Taylor Vince who played J. J. LaRoche in The Mentalist suffers from the condition, so thanks to telly on both counts…

    I’ll admit to this becoming something of a biff-fest toward the end, with GASTROPOD and SHELLAC going in with barely a glance at the clues, and TABLE and DOUR little more examined as I finished off with 14 minutes on the clock.

      1. Thank you! It is, but sadly the little black book has become mostly a write-only file recently. I can’t remember the last time I actually did my revision…

        1. My ‘little black book’ has become a tome now, and just to scroll through it is exhausting…never mind revision!

  7. 19 minutes with LOI NYSTAGMUS although I could have assembled the letters with the Y and U the other way round and not known the difference. COD to CANIS MINOR. Thank you V and setter.

  8. 21m 40s so this counts as ‘easy’ in my book.
    I take it on trust that ‘keen’ is a synonym of ‘tart’ and ‘shallow’ is a synonym of ‘idle’.

    1. I also looked twice at ‘keen’ and ‘shallow’ but their entries in Collins Thesaurus include ‘tart’ and ‘idle’ respectively so I didn’t bother to check further.

      1. Thanks, Jack. I tend to use thesaurus.com but I didn’t get beyond the first couple of pages in my search.

  9. 18:23. I got completely stuck at the top of the grid and had to take a break before returning to spot SATRAPS straight away and finish the rest off from there. NHO NYSTAGMUS, which Chambers tells me is “found in miners, etc”. I wonder what the etc indicates here – maybe others who work in a dark environment.

  10. 23 min for a straightforward solve with the exception of 7d It didn’t help that I started to enter gymnastics before realising not enough letters

  11. Happy Monday, 8’07”, no problem. TART and IDLE needed checkers.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  12. 27 minutes. Really struggled with the NYSTAGMUS/GAIA intersection, not knowing either, and eventually put them both in with no degree of confidence. SATRAPS took a while to come too, even with all the checkers. Straightforward enough otherwise, though I didn’t see the anagrams for TRIES ON or PREARRANGEMENT.

    FOI Manifestation
    LOI Nystagmus
    COD Mistranslating

  13. 12:16. Held up at the end by the unknown NYSTAGMUS where I correctly guessed the sequence of missing letters. MANIFESTATION also took a while. Otherwise 24A. I liked MISTRANSLATING for the fine surface. Thanks vinyl and setter.

  14. 9:47. No major problems other than NYSTAGMUS, which seemed a terrible word to clue with an anagram, but I did manage to put the letters in the right place and everyone else seems to have done the same so perhaps it’s not so terrible after all.

  15. 18 minutes, no unknowns, although as above I had a MER at IDLE for shallow. Liked the little dog stars.

  16. The reading matter of my teen years was a great help with 7d and 12a. GAIA appeared in Arthur C Clark’s writing, and the Pigman, George Cyril Wellbeloved, (or was it James Pirbright?) who tended The Empress of Blandings for Lord Emsworth, in PG Wodehouse’s novels, suffered from NYSTAGMUS. NYSTAGMUS, however, was still my LOI, and just prevented me breaking the 10 minute barrier. SHIRE and NAILS got me off to a start. 10:26. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  17. 21:39
    No dramas. Would have been quicker, but was simultaneously listening to LBC 🙂
    Thanks, v.

  18. Started with negative vibes on seeing the number of long words indicated, and following a succession of less-than -straightforward Mondays, but quickly realised this was quite do-able and all went in fairly smoothly, even the NHO NYSTAGMUS, once the crossers left just 4 letters to arrange in a plausible fashion! No thrilling PDMs, but after a number of days struggling to finish, this made a refreshing change. Thanks to setter and to Vinyl for the parsing of CENTIMETRE, which passed me by, as I was looking at the wrong T for CENTRE!

  19. Found myself warbling “NYSTAGMUS lies over the ocean, NYSTAGMUS lies over the sea”. I won’t further identify it but there is a very similar clue with the same answer in almost the same position in the grid in the Nutmeg in today’s Guardian – which caused me some rapid eye movements. 14.49

  20. Was fortunate that I knew NYSTAGMUS from my youth, when I suffered from it, long ago finished thank goodness. Rather unpleasant inability of the eyes to fixate on things. With GAIA I was sure the setter had made a mistake and that it should have been in some way ‘Excellent silver reversed put around goddess’ until I realised. I think GAIA is quite well-known — at any rate it was to me. Otherwise very Mondayish, 25 minutes.

  21. I was one of those who put the U and Y the wrong way round in the unknown NYSTAGMUS.
    Also put CANIA instead of CANIS. Ah well.

  22. NYSTAGMUS was also unknown to me, but I’m another who didn’t find it too tricky to guess which letters went where. I initially had CANUS MINOR for the almost-cryptic 13d, but when I realised TRIES ON was an anagram, it went in as my LOI – making CANIS MINOR my POI, I suppose. 5m 13s, so otherwise nothing too scary.

      1. Back in the day there was a street in the hills on the edge of Melbourne called Bonzerview Street. The denizens of the street petitioned the local council – successfully – to rename the street View Street.
        A sad day for mankind.

  23. 15:48. I was unsure about TART for keen. I can see the obvious connection but can’t think of any context in which you could substitute one for the other, if that matters. NYSTAGMUS might be more familiar to anyone who has had the misfortune to be checked over by a medic after a suspected stroke.

  24. I can’t say I found this easy. I did start off thinking it was a normal Monday puzzle that would take me around 20 minutes, but the top row and the NE corner almost did for me. I entered an -ING ending prematurely for 1a, and it was only when I got SATRAPS and ATTACKS that I saw 1a. I then spent minutes juggling unchecked letters for 7d. I was never completely sure of my answer to 16a (SLAMMER) since it might have been something else, so the unfamiliar NYSTAGMUS was slow to emerge. The rest of the grid was trouble-free, and pretty easy, but 35 minutes in the end.

  25. 43:17, so just about Snitch/2.

    “Devon, maybe” looked like SW, so that held me up. Various other misdirections lead me astray, but not too bad.

  26. 22 minutes. A couple of MER’s for TART and IDLE as discussed above. Did know NYSTAGMUS and GAIA, which of interest has occurred either as the answer or in the clue in five “non-specialist” puzzles covered by Fifteensquared in the last couple of years.

    Otherwise the only one to put up any stiff RESISTANCE was, well…

  27. 20 mins, only held up by not seeing GAIA, and therefore not having all the letters for NYSTwhatsit.

  28. Didn’t check the snitch, and dove right in.

    I was slow to get the long ones round the edges, MISTRANSLATING has a lovely surface though.

    Kept plugging away, and ended up doing well enough. CENTIMETRE was my last in, having discarded HECTOMETRE and FEMTOMETRE as making no sense. No idea why the much more commonly used CENTIMETRE didn’t come to mind, probably because I forgot that enemy can = TIME.


  29. 07:21, so Monday is as it should be. I was aware of NYSTAGMUS because Richard Osman suffers with the condition and I’ve heard him talk about it in one of his rare ventures into the public sphere.

  30. I have a question about 1 across. If “any “number is eradicated from infestation wouldn’t that mean the two “n”‘s would be both taken out leaving “ifestatio? If it was “a” number or “one”number I would interpret that as just one of the n’s.

    1. I think it’s an accepted algebraic convention that n can stand for ‘any number’. In crossword land, the same applies to x, y and z.

        1. N is often clued by “any number” in these puzzles, but X, Y or Z by “unknown.”

          “N” is used to represent a “natural number”—a non-zero, positive whole number. X, Y or Z can represent any kind of number, say in a quadratic equation.

          1. Good point – thanks for clarifying (and for reminding me of the definition of a natural number: one of those things which was important when I was taking my A levels but which seems to have been less so for the last 40-odd years).

  31. I’m back after a long break helping my daughter move from northern Germany to southern Germany (Regensburg, a place I can highly recommend for a visit because it is a delightful and almost completely preserved medieval city on the Danube); I didn’t actually move anything for her but helped keep her three children from getting in the way. That left little time for solving crosswords.

    38 minutes today, with a fair number of them spent pondering the possibilities for the letter order in NYSTAGMUS, a word which seems very out of place in a puzzle which is otherwise so easy. Nothing else presented any real difficulties.

  32. The only problem I had was with the unknown eye condition – now I have another one to add to astigmatism and strabismus.

  33. Unlike many here, I didn’t find this at all easy, perhaps because both 1A and 1D took much longer than they should have. About 50 minutes in the end. Didn’t we have NYSTAGMUS quite recently? Maybe it was in The Grauniad. I didn’t know it then, but it went in with no checkers today, so it’s certainly shown up somewhere in recent weeks.

  34. 29.37

    A steady solve with nothing eventually impossible or unparsed. LOI was RESISTANCE. I knew Army Group had to be RA or RE, but completely forgot that “is about” can mean SI.


  35. 10:11 late this afternoon.
    Enjoyable Monday fare, with most of the the long anagrams proving amenable to solution fairly quickly.
    LOI the NHO 7 d “nystagmus” which went in with a bit of a shrug.
    Liked POI “satraps” where I struggled to remember the definition exactly, so carefully parsed it before entering.
    Thanks to Vinyl and setter

  36. How can a crossword containing the word NYSTAGMUS be classified as very easy by the snitch? Truth is, it was all pretty easy — until the last hurdle. Luckily I guessed right. One to remember. I had never heard of it. Time: 15’23”. When I was at university, NOGGINS had another meaning.

  37. 33:58

    Not as easy as others found it. DNK the mystery eye affliction and took some mins also to figure out where the non-checkers might go. Didn’t help either not seeing MANIFESTATION (not helped by COLD for ‘shallow’) for ages. Of course, once that went in, the rest of the top half was much simpler.

  38. 20.53. I was a little bit slow to put some of this together but got there in the end.

  39. Mostly quite easy, but a resistance to changing my mind on 1d being somehow INSTAGRAMMING (too short) held me up sufficiently in getting 1a also . MERs at both IDLE and TART, as others have , and NHO NOGGINS with that meaning – but liked DIRECT CURRENT clue.

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